Galliano denies pair's racism claim


Fashion designer John Galliano arrives at a police station in Paris (AP)

Fashion designer John Galliano denied accusations of racism when he faced his accusers at a Paris police station.

A couple claimed he made anti-Semitic slurs – illegal in France – after a video emerged of him praising Adolf Hitler.

Monday’s hearing was closed to the public, but a police officer said of Galliano: “He denied all the accusations against him.”

Also giving evidence were Galliano’s chauffeur and an employee of The Perle, the trendy cafe in Paris where the insults were allegedly made, but both reported they did not hear any anti-Semitic or racist remarks.

Christian Dior has suspended Galliano, its creative director, pending an investigation, citing its “zero-tolerance” policy on anti-Semitism. The fashion house is scheduled to present its autumn-winter 2011/12 ready-to-wear show on Friday as part of Paris fashion week.

The Paris prosecutor’s office is expected to decide what follow-up there may be.

French officials said a hospital test showed Galliano had 1.1 milligrams of alcohol per litre of blood, more than twice the legal limit to drive in France, after the incident last Thursday. The long-haired Gibraltar-born designer, wearing a wide-brimmed black hat and an earring, made no comment to reporters as he entered and left the police station.

During Monday’s hearing, a 47-year-old woman also gave evidence. She filed a complaint against Galliano on Saturday claiming that she was insulted in a similar fashion by the designer at The Perle about four months ago.

Galliano’s lawyer, Stephane Zerbib, was dismissive of this accuser. “We’re surprised by this new complaint which exactly resembles the first ones. It’s not by chance,” Mr Zerbib said. “It’s surprising that this person had not shown herself since October.”

Mr Zerbib said the designer has filed a countersuit against the couple for alleged defamation, threats and insults.

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